Firstly, could you briefly introduce yourself?
My name is Katrina Estereich and I have lived in Lismore a long time. So my home was flooded twice in recent months and is now pretty much a bare shell. My family and I are adjusting to being displaced outside of Lismore for now and the foreseeable future.
I make wire-wrapped jewellery, something I taught myself by watching YouTube videos and just having a go. I have developed my own patterns and it was devastating to lose my hand-drafted pattern book in the floods. I am slowly trying to recreate it.
I use jewellery-quality wire and semiprecious gemstones. My pieces are made completely by hand. I don’t use any machinery, not even a soldering iron. I just use my hands and pliers, creating every part of the jewellery pieces including shepherd’s hooks for earrings and clasps.
The main techniques I use are wire wrapping and wire weaving.
Have you always been a maker?
I’ve always been interested in arts and craft but was particularly attracted to jewellery. I used to be a hairdresser and would really check out and comment on clients’ jewellery! Jewellery in shops was too dear for me so I decided to try making my own. I started off making beaded jewellery but have been making primarily wire-wrapped gemstones for about 15 years.
What was the first wire-wrapped piece that you made?
I made myself a pendant using silver plated wire with a malachite stone, I think. Malachite was my favourite stone at the time. I still always make a piece for myself or family before producing more for sale.
What draws you to the wire-wrapping technique?
I was browsing techniques on the Internet and came across an American YouTube video on wire wrapping; I was instantly hooked! I always loved gemstones and the detail of wire wrapping really appealed to my aesthetic sense.
I made a pretty slow start but never stopped learning, and trying something new. It just stimulates a passion in me.
How would you describe your look and feel?
I tend to go for swirly, organic, fluid, rounded and soothing shapes. Just as knitters have to finish off their ends, I have to finish off the ends of my wires and that is almost always with my signature swirl. You’ll see that on most of my creations.
How did you develop your style?
Initially, I watched some yucky DVDs to collect ideas and techniques and adapted them to create my own image.
What inspires your work?
Nature inspires much of my work. But it might just be in my DNA. I had treasured pieces of jewellery made by my great grandmother. Sadly, the flood swallowed those.
How long does it take you to make a piece?
It’s quite quick these days. The average piece takes between 20 – 60 minutes. However, I don’t usually go from start to finish on a single piece. Usually I have a bit of a production line going. I have to limit the time I spend at it as my hands can get very sore. The wire macrame and weaving take the longest and are quite demanding.
Can you describe your work space?
In my home I had a dedicated room. At the moment I have 2 trestle tables and lots of containers in the corner of our temporary rental.
What’s the best thing for you about being creative for a living?
It is more a self-gratifying activity for me than a living. I find it very meditative. I get really focused and switched off from life’s demands. Selling is a bonus and gives me money to buy more supplies!
How does it feel to be part of the Rotary Kyogle Bazaar community?
I do plenty of bigger markets but the Bazaar is my favourite. I love the intimate, family feel. The atmosphere is relaxed and clients and makers are all really friendly.
Do you have any comments about your work and sustainability?
My work doesn’t involve energy resources and there is minimal waste. I use waxed cotton cord for necklaces as it lasts much longer than leather. My only packaging is reusable velvet pouches.
What would you say to someone thinking about selling their work?
My advice is to give each market at least three times to get to know it. The first couple times are really just marketing – getting seen and getting customer feedback. Don’t give up!
What have been your biggest challenges and achievements?
The floods and COVID have been my most recent challenges. COVID has had implications for my son’s schooling and that impacted my time significantly. My biggest achievement is without a doubt my son.
Do you have any exciting plans?
I am keen to start making rings. Watch this space.
Any last words about what crafting/making means to you?
My jewellery making is a huge part of my identity and my life. My brain is constantly ticking over with new ideas. It is part of my recovery from a traumatic couple of years and keeps me passionate about life.